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The Best Time to Start CAT Preparation
May 06 2024

The CAT is the most popular MBA admission exam in India, serving as a route to the major B-Schools in the country, including the IIMs and over 1,200 others. Over two lakh people take the CAT each year. Because the CAT is a gateway to the most prominent MBA programs in India, it is extremely demanding and necessitates committed and long-term preparation. The most popular question that MBA aspirants have about the CAT exam is, "When should I start CAT preparation?" Aspirants frequently ask us the following relevant questions:

  • "When is the ideal time to start preparing for the CAT?"
  • "Is it too early to begin CAT preparation in February?"
  • "Is it acceptable to begin CAT preparation in June?"

When is the best time to begin?

The appropriate time to begin preparing for the CAT exam is determined by each candidate's talents, abilities, and the amount of time he or she can dedicate on a daily basis. However, the majority of pupils begin relatively early. The tentative CAT exam date is November 27, and if you wish to take the exam, you should begin CAT preparation in March-April. However, if you begin preparing now then there is a high chance that you will be able to pass. All you have to do is set four-month plans from August to November.

Also read: How much time is required to prepare for the CAT?


The CAT Exam is unquestionably only an aptitude test. However, CAT hopefuls should keep in mind that only roughly 1% of all CAT applicants make it to the cream layer of 99 and above percentile.

Preparation Time Required based on academic records

CAT preparation may take more than a year for a CAT aspirant with a standard academic record, and 6- 8 months for a student with a better-than-expected academic record. And 3-4 months for an aspirant with an exceptional academic record. Because CAT is held in November or December, starting your preparation at least a year before CAT is the optimal time. 


Applications are at an all-time high, and competition is getting tougher by the year. Only 20 participants in CAT 2016 received flawless 100 percentiles. To earn a spot in an IIM of their choice, every general category student must have a percentile of 98 or higher. To achieve such a good score, you must still devote 10-12 months to CAT preparation.

Working Professionals: Optimal Preparation Time

Meetings, work pressure, and family duties sap your inspiration as a working professional. Contributing little time frames day by day and separating out your arrangement far ahead of time is the ideal choice to make.



A student's life isn't easy too as they have to manage entry-level positions/project work, planning preparations, and tests. Whilst attending classes, college events, and meeting assignments while preparing for the CAT exam. It leaves you with almost no time to plan your CAT layout. Considering the CAT pattern, any student or working professional must recognize that memorizing all of the principles again while having a hectic schedule is critical. As a result, they must begin their preparations at least 365 days early in order to study 65 topics in an average of 5 days per topic of the CAT curriculum, covering basic learning as well as tricks, technique, and a lot of practice. If you are a real CAT or MBA candidate, starting your preparation ahead of time is the way to go.

Also read: Why this is the right time to enroll for MBA

CAT Preparation: Month-Wise Time-Table

Here's a rough timeline for CAT exam preparation. This is a broad breakdown of the CAT preparation time frame. You can change the timetable to suit your needs.

Months Target
March-August Complete core CAT syllabus
August-end to mid-September Experiment with exam strategy, take timed sectional tests, practice question selection & prioritization, and focus on accuracy building
Mid-September to mid-October Start solving full-length mock tests
October onwards Focus on revision & mock tests

All an MBA applicant needs are the appropriate guidance, the right attitude to preparation, and the most effective tactics to crack the CAT.

Several video lessons on various CAT exam topics are available on CATKing's Youtube channel. As it will help applicants fulfill their dreams of passing the CAT and enrolling in their favorite management school.


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Anisha Mukhija

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